“Today, our criminal justice system and victims finally served justice for Kristin Smart, for the Smart family, and for our community of San Luis Obispo County,” said Dan Dow, District Attorney of San Luis Obispo. a written statement released on Friday night. “Today, justice delayed is not justice denied.”
“After nearly 27 years of unspeakable anguish, the Smart family has finally seen their daughter’s killer convicted,” Christopher Peuvrelle, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case, said in the same statement. “Her strength and determination serve as an inspiration to us all.”
A jury found Flores guilty of Smart’s murder in October. Her father Ruben Flores, who had been accused of helping to hide the body, was acquitted by a separate jury of charges of being an accessory to murder.
California jury convicts Paul Flores of Kristin Smart’s 1996 murder
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced the arrest of Flores and his father in 2021 — a quarter of a century after Smart was last seen alive — and credit a true crime podcast to produce new evidence.
Chris Lambert, the freelance journalist who revisited the case in his podcast “Your Own Backyard”, brought the case “nationally to bring new information,” Parkinson said at the time, without offering further details, according to the AP. “It produced some information that I believe was valuable.”
Smart’s family gave impact statements Friday before the sentencing. According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune newspaper, his father, Stan Smart, said: “This is a parent’s worst nightmare – the disappearance and death of his son … we shared his hopes, his dreams, her aspirations as she became a beautiful young adult. , and now she will never be able to have a full life.”
Paul Flores’ attorney, Robert Sanger, did not immediately respond to a request for comment overnight after the sentencing. He previously told the Washington Post that his policy is not to comment on his cases.
During the process, the jury heard that Smart was last seen walking to his dorm with Flores after a party in May 1996. gave different accounts of how he had sustained a black eye to investigators looking into the disappearance, the AP said.
After an interview with a new witness in 2019, detectives obtained a court order to intercept and monitor Flores’ cell phone and texts. They also conducted searches at the homes of Flores and his family the following year.
During a further search in March 2021, archaeologists working for the police found a soil disturbance the size of a coffin, along with human blood, under the deck of Flores’ father’s house, according to the AP. However, the blood was too degraded to extract a DNA sample. Prosecutors said they believed the “clandestine” had once held Smart’s remains.
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During Friday’s sentencing hearing, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe called Flores “a cancer on society” and ordered him to register as a and sex offender for life, according to the Associated Press.
“You deserve to spend every day you have left behind bars,” he said, adding that Flores had “lived freely in the community” for more than two decades and had a history of “predatory behavior” against women.
On Friday, Smart’s mother described her daughter’s disappearance as “heartbreaking” and said Flores’ refusal to reveal the location of her daughter’s body was “a cruel, visceral pain that no one must ever endure,” the San Luis Obispo Tribune newspaper reported. .
Authorities have vowed to continue investigations to recover Smart’s body. After Flores’ conviction last year, Sheriff Parkinson he said in a statement that there could be “no real justice until Kristin is reunited with her family. This investigation will not be closed until we find Kristin.”